The hornwort genome and early land plant evolution

Jian Zhang, Xin Xing Fu, Rui Qi Li, Xiang Zhao, Yang Liu, Ming He Li, Arthur Zwaenepoel, Hong Ma, Bernard Goffinet, Yan Long Guan, Jia Yu Xue, Yi Ying Liao, Qing Feng Wang, Qing Hua Wang, Jie Yu Wang, Guo Qiang Zhang, Zhi Wen Wang, Yu Jia, Mei Zhi Wang, Shan Shan DongJian Fen Yang, Yuan Nian Jiao, Ya Long Guo, Hong Zhi Kong, An Ming Lu, Huan Ming Yang, Shou Zhou Zhang, Yves Van de Peer, Zhong Jian Liu, Zhi Duan Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

76 Scopus citations


Hornworts, liverworts and mosses are three early diverging clades of land plants, and together comprise the bryophytes. Here, we report the draft genome sequence of the hornwort Anthoceros angustus. Phylogenomic inferences confirm the monophyly of bryophytes, with hornworts sister to liverworts and mosses. The simple morphology of hornworts correlates with low genetic redundancy in plant body plan, while the basic transcriptional regulation toolkit for plant development has already been established in this early land plant lineage. Although the Anthoceros genome is small and characterized by minimal redundancy, expansions are observed in gene families related to RNA editing, UV protection and desiccation tolerance. The genome of A. angustus bears the signatures of horizontally transferred genes from bacteria and fungi, in particular of genes operating in stress-response and metabolic pathways. Our study provides insight into the unique features of hornworts and their molecular adaptations to live on land.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)107-118
Number of pages12
JournalNature Plants
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Plant Science


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